Everyone who loves to write loves books. We were readers first before becoming writers. My story is no different than anyone else. Ever since I learned how to read I read books.
Without doubt I read for all the wrong reasons at first. Perhaps I read because it was fun. Or maybe I read as an escape, mainly to avoid human contact. You see I was bullied a lot when I was a kid. I was nicknamed the teacher’s pet and called other names. In school people ganged up on me. So I read to find friends and companions more hospitable, more pleasant and agreeable than those around me.
We didn’t have a public library in the village where I grew up, so I read at home, in secret. As much as I wanted to I wouldn’t dare take my book anywhere else with me. If any one of my friends happened to see me reading a book, I would be bullied even more. So during lunch breaks I rushed home to my books. I read nonstop. And at night when everyone went to sleep I read under the bed covers with a flashlight, or held the book up to the moonlight that shone through the window, and almost ruined my eyes. Reading made me happy. What once started as an escape from reality became a way of life for me. It was as if I had two lives, an inner life and an outer life, both equally important but one more magical than the other.
I read without supervision. I read anything and everything that I could lay my hands on. And I realized I loved stories more than anything in this world. I loved the way words sounded, or the way I could form sentences. The great thing about reading novels is that when you open a book and read it, you can judge it however you want. And through the years I unconsciously amassed different word usages and sentence structures, various character portrayals. I analyzed motives and behaviors, I dissected plots, and criticized endings. From my habit of reading emerged the habit of writing. In the words of Jane Smiley:
“That’s the wonderful thing about a novel. No matter how great its reputation is, when you’re sitting in your bedroom with it, you can think whatever you want. And that critical thought, that feeling that something’s not quite right – those are the thoughts that spur you toward writing your own novel. Those thoughts should be cherished.”